Poem: Reflections of the Past Year

We’re winding down to a new year and this poem is about the reflections we usually do at this time of the year. What reflections have you done about 2022 and what are your hopes and aspirations for 2023?

Reflections of the Past Year

As the year winds down and the old start to give way to the new
Its time to take a break and look back on the year that just flew

Did everything go your way or was anything awry and absurd?
What went well, and what can be bettered?
Was there any learning this year?
Were you a better version of yourself this year?

2023 is that chance we get annually
To take stock and have another try, that’s the new year’s beauty
This year let’s do things differently,
Let us be grateful for what we have

Family and friends, work and play in perfect balance
In 2023, let our life provide us with that beautiful fragrance
Here’s hoping your life is the best one this coming year
One that brings with it all that you need and makes your troubles disappear

Looking Back at 2021

Today 2021 will end and with this, we all have finished yet another year filled with uncertainties in a world that is so different from just two years back.

2021 was an extension of 2020 and we continued to be masked and take steps to protect ourselves. This year, the adults in the house got both doses of the COVID vaccination as well as the booster shot. The children also got both their vaccine doses, and are scheduled to get their booster shots in January. Masking has become a way of the way here and everyone has their preferred type of mask, whether disposable or reusable.

BB and GG are in the second year of their course and it looks like they will continue to finish their course without really experiencing poly life. GG is doing pretty well in school and I am super impressed with her work ethic and dedication so she can realise her dreams. She will also start her industrial attachment or internship in the first half of 2022 and we are hoping the company she gets placed in will be right for her. She is also working towards graduating with a minor in Japanese, a language and culture she loves, so that’s another thing I am super proud of about her. BB has not had the career successes he used to have and I suspect he has finally realised this. He seems to have taken a hard look and I hope that in 2022, he will finally pull up his pants and work towards realising his dreams. He will go for his industrial attachment in the last few months of 2022, so that is something to look forward to. And then in 2023, he will enlist to spend the next two years serving his country as a National Serviceman.

GG had some serious medical issues this year which came out of nowhere. But I am glad it hit us when it did, otherwise, we would not have known about it and it would have created some serious issues for her as she grew older. She is currently under treatment for hypothyroidism. We went to see a doctor for something else and a blood test was ordered as part of the routine testing. And it was so serious that we got a call from that hospital just a few hours after we were back home to come back to see a doctor. And after we went back to the hospital, we were sent to the Accident & Emergency of a bigger hospital because this hospital did not have the resources to check her further and decide the most appropriate treatment. So off we went and GG was warded overnight so they could do a more comprehensive blood test. And now she will be on medication for probably the rest of her life. So far her numbers have improved, but have not reached normal levels, so we are seeing the endocrinologist frequently who is monitoring her closely. I suppose once the levels reach normal levels, we will see the doctor less frequently. She has been quite good with taking her medication, even waking up super early to take the medicine before going back to bed so she can have breakfast at a normal time.

Speaking of health, my diabetes has been pretty stable this year with no great spikes. I would like the numbers to reduce a bit more and this is something I will be working towards next year. I attribute this to the walking I have been doing all year. I have mentioned every month this year about my plan to walk the distance from my home in Singapore to my home in Mumbai. Well, that plan has changed slightly and the distance has increased. After lockdowns and the reality of living alone hit them, my parents will finally be moving out of Mumbai to a retirement community near Bengaluru early next year. I am hoping that I can make one last trip to bid my dear city goodbye, so watch this space to see if I make it. Given how the various COVID variants are wrecking holiday plans, I don’t want to say anything at this point, so I don’t jinx it, but I am trying my best to go there, say goodbye and help move my parents to their new home. We will be renting at first and once they are settled there, if they find a suitable place, they will most likely purchase it. This move became necessary because they found it hard to live alone, especially during the pandemic. Where they will be moving, my mum’s sister is currently living and another cousin also has a home there and spends at least a week a month there. Her other sister and mum also live in the same city and so they will have family around. And the most important thing, according to my sister and me is that they will have access to medical attention 24/7, so we, who don’t live in the same country can breathe easy.

Now to my steps for this year. So as I mentioned the previous plan was to walk from my home in Singapore to my home in Mumbai, which is a distance of about 6700 km. Now the plan has changed a bit. After reaching Mumbai, I will continue and walk until I reach my parent’s new home near Bengaluru, which adds another 1000 km to this journey, making my journey now about 7800 km. I will do this journey in two years because I can’t walk this distance in one year (though Google Maps tells me that it will take 1500 hours of walking or about 150 days or five months of walking 10 hours daily to achieve it). My first leg in 2021 has brought me in spitting distance of the Indian border. I am less than 200 km from the Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge at Moreh, Manipur which is the land border between India and Myanmar. I will spend the next year walking across India and reaching Mumbai first, before moving on to reach Bengaluru by the end of 2022. This year I have walked more than five million steps, having walked more than 3,200 kilometres. This year, I had step goals for each month starting from 10,000 steps a day going to 15,000 steps a day for each month, increasing the goal incrementally each month. And out of 365 days, I didn’t hit my daily targets only 25 days which makes me have walked my target steps 93% of this year. This is something I am super proud of as I didn’t think I had it in me to walk consistently for the full year. My goal for 2022 is to not miss a single daily goal.

I hit my reading goals for this year by October and have exceeded them as of the end of the month. My initial goal was to read 75 books this year, but I managed to read 90 books, exceeding my goal by 20%. My goal for next year will probably remain the same, but I will try to read 100 books in 2022. I also want to read more non-fiction in 2022 because I tend to gravitate towards fiction more and I want to get out of this comfort zone.


So this was what we did and achieved in 2021. I am still meditating and have been consistently meditating since April 2021. Meditation has become such a part of my life, I feel something is off if I am not able to meditate in the morning.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful 2022, one filled with love, laughter and successes. I am also wishing for a COVID-free world in 2022, one where borders are not closed and travel, friendship and gatherings go back to pre-COVID levels. Hopefully, a cure is found sooner than later and the virus becomes endemic so we can all go back to our lives.

Happy New Year and have a fabulous 2022

2020 Reflections

Most years I usually do a reflection for the year, which is part of my weekly update, but this year, because of how this year was, I thought it warranted a post all by itself.

2020 has been an extremely challenging year for each and every one of us, irrespective of where in the world you live in and what you do. This year we saw the COVID-19 pandemic hit pretty much every nation on earth and this is something none of us saw anything like this before. Not wars, not recessions and no other natural catasrophes came close to shutting down the world like COVID-19 has done.

Singapore went into a circuit breaker or lockdown for two months first in April and that was when S started working from home. The children had already been home for a few months by then since school had not yet started for them. They started their first year of school online and are a bit sore that orientation and other activities traditionally offered to incoming students were either cancelled, offered online or extremely abbreviated. They could not really make friends because they only saw their classmates face to face after months and either formed groups for projects randomly or as assigned to by teachers. They have now made friends within their project groups and they slowly start going back to face-to-face lessons, more for BB than GG, given their respective courses, they are making more friends and getting more used to poly life.

S started working from home sometime in April when the circuit breaker was instituted and has continued to do till now. He is someone who probably does not work well at home, so the initial days were a bit hard on him. He needs to feed off his colleagues and friends at work, and not having colleagues next to him or being able to meet them for a coffee chat or join them for lunch was hard. I am sure this is something a lot of people, baring introverts like me, would have and are facing with not much interaction with colleagues and friends.

As for me, life went on pretty much as usual, though I did lose some employment opportunities and clients because organisations were scaling down following loss of income during this period. But I can’t complain much as I was doing what I was doing pre-COVID, only this time with a house full of people.

For the first time, other than holidays, I had a house full of people living with each other 24/7. GG & BB are grown up now, so I don’t have to pander to them all the time and neither do I have to be behind them for online classes. They are fairly independent and are able to get their own work done and on time. But being the kind of mother that I am, I do keep a close eye on their work and especially during exams and their exam schedule and do make sure at least during this time they spend more time studying.

But my biggest takeaway this year has to be meditation. I have been meditating on and off for a few years now, though I have to say it was more off than on. Around April, I came across an app which was offering the full suite of their offerings free for a year and I took it up. I used to meditate at night before bed and started doing the same. Then I realised that this was why I was not regular, so started meditating in the morning. I usually get up 30 minutes before everyone else and use this time, when everything is quiet and dark to do my daily meditation. And this was what worked best for me. Today, I have been meditating for about nine months now and have not gone a single day without doing some form of meditation or the other. While I will not continue with the app I first used once the free period is over, I will continue with the meditation lessons I have learnt from it and also use other free apps. Meditation has allowed me to become more calm and collected and the things that used to irritate me previously do not as much today. Meditation has now become a part of my life and if I don’t meditate for a few minutes each morning, I feel something is missing that day. I am hopeful that I carry this habit over to 2021 onwards.

I have also introspected a lot this year and have decided that I will not tolerate negativity in my life. I am slowly started eliminating people and things that cause negativity and am taking small baby steps and slowly but surely will get there. We already have too much going on in our lives and to have negative thoughts, ideas and adding negativity to the mix makes life harder. Why do we do this to ourselves was a question I asked myself and the answer was an obvious no.

As I grow older I am also slowly realising the beauty of minimalism. This year, when we hardly left the house and din’t wear makeup and new clothes, I started questioning the need for uncontrolled materialism. I have always been someone who valued experiences over things, so this was not a huge shift in  thinking, but still it was a move in curbing impulse buying. I have very consciously tried not to buy anything new until and unless I really need it. And I am also trying to wait a few days before something so I can check in with myself to see if it is a need or a want, a luxury or a necessity.

2020 has brought about many changes in our lives – both personal and professional. We all have learnt that those who want to work from home are not slacking and in fact, working from home can make you more productive than an office. We have also learnt to live with ourselves and our loved ones. We have learnt that family is important and so are close friends who are the family you choose. We have learnt new normenclatures and new words and phrases have been added to our vocabulary.

My hope for 2021 is a very simple one. For one, I want the world to heal, for the vaccine to generate herd immunity to the disease, so we can all move on and live our lives. I want travel to resume so I can go and visit my parents and make what would probably one of my last trips to my hometown of Mumbai. I also want us to continue being a kinder world that we are today. The world we live in is already very fractured and the kindness generated by people this year should go on as we enter a new year so we continue to help our fellow human beings.

Happy 2021 folks! May this year bring joy, health and happiness to you and your loved ones!

My Singapore Journey

Yesterday was Singapore’s 55th National Day and as I reminisced about my twenty odd years here, I thought back on my journey in Singapore.

I have written about my journey to become a Singaporean last year, but this post will be slightly different. 2020 is my twentieth year in Singapore and as I have mentioned previously, I could have become a Singaporean about two to three years after I got my Permanent Residency given that S is native Singaporean and BB & GG were already born who are also citizens by birth. But I wanted to make sure I was taking the right decision. When I first came to Singapore, I was quite happy with my permanent residency status and had no intention at that point to renounce my Indian citizenship. I was very proud to have been born in India, especially Mumbai (and till today, I proudly call Bombay my hometown) and since I was actually getting some of the benefits which I would have not gotten if BB & GG were not Singaporeans, there was no real hurry for me to take the next step.

As I grew used to staying in Singapore, it slowly started becoming home to me. In fact I remember a conversation with the officer at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority when I went to get my passport stamped with my re-entry permit who was doing the stamping. She asked me why I didn’t apply for citizenship since I am married to a Singaporean and my children are also locals. I should have no problems with my application according to her. I responded saying I didn’t feel Singaporean yet and so will wait before I take such a decision. That feeling came about fifteen years into living in Singapore. I can still remember when I finally acknowledged to myself it was time to become a Singaporean not just in spirit, but officially too. I was returning back from a business trip and when the plane landed in Changi airport, the pilot (or co-pilot) said the usual welcome dialogue which SIA usually has which has something to the effect of “Welcome to Singapore and for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, welcome home”, I realised that Singapore was indeed home for me. I also completed a new rite of passage as a Singaporean recently when I voted in the recent general elections which happened last month.

When the sight of Changi airport’s control towers says you are now home, when Singlish seems as normal as Hindi and Marathi, when Majulah Singapura means as much to you as Jana Gana Mana, it means that Singapore has become home to me now. Even though it took me about fifteen years to come to this realisation, I decided that was the time to take things to the next level and make Singapore officially my home. BB & GG were, I think, the most excited when I took this decision. I have not travelled much, especially regionally after getting my red passport, but I look forward to exploring more countries in the region. I can remember trips to Thailand and Cambodia where I had to rush to get my visa on arrival stamped in my passport while S and the children either waited for me or went ahead to collect the baggage because they had Singapore passports which ensured that they just walk out. Or even work trips where I had to get visas every single time and my colleagues usually had to wait for me before we went to collect our baggage. Pre COVID, we used to drive down to Malaysia, specifically Johor Bahru quite often to buy groceries and shop and crossing the causeway without needing a visa was so convienient.

Happy birthday Singapore! Prosper and flourish for years to come…

What’s a National Day, without a National Day song? I’ve shared my favourite NDP song, Home by Kit Chan last year, so here’s this year’s song sung by Nathan Hartano.

Poem: The Mirror and I

You look at it and what do you see?
You looking back at you, your reflelction for the world to see

What you see is what the world sees
Warts and faults, beauty and stories

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, tell me this, tell me quick
Am I really that what I show in public?

Is my outside the same as what I am in the inside?
Or am I living a double life, am I living a lie, with eyes open wide?

Tell me the truth, my mirror, tell me now
Show me what I truly am, let me inside me somehow

Let me take the first step in syncing my in and out
So my mirror reflects the real me, both in and out
My mirror is true to myself, inside and out